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NIL legislation and NCAA policy changes promote new educational opportunities for college athletes

College athletes may still be in school but now they are also entrepreneurs of the own name, image, and likeness (NIL) brands. To recognize this new opportunity, the University of Tennessee (UT) is expanding a business program to educate college athletes in entrepreneurship.

As announced on June 3, the UT athletics department is working in conjunction with the UT Haslam College of Business to offer a for-college-credit Entrepreneurship minor.

This new educational opportunity was inspired by the NCAA Policy change on July 1 and by Tennessee’s recent NIL Legislation that allows college athletes to earn money from their own name, image, and likeness. The Tennessee law will go into effect on January 1, 2022, while the NCAA policy changes took effect on July 1, 2021. As a practical matter, Tennessee college athletes would not run afoul of NCAA policy by executing an NIL contract now, so the effective date of the Tennessee legislation appears scheduled to give universities time to provide guidance, education, and implement university policies before January 1, 2022.

In addition to the UT Entrepreneurship program for college credit, some states are requiring that universities provide financial literacy workshops for college athletes. Tennessee’s law requires that the institution cover information related to budgeting and debt management during the first full-time semester of enrollment at the college or university. (See HB1351, section L).

Similar to competitive recruiting and on-field competition, various SEC schools will likely launch similar educational programs to assist their college athletes in order to remain competitive to attract athletic talent.

Click here for complete coverage of the NCAA and NIL.


A.J. Bahou
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